Tuesday, November 16th, 2010
VOCAL Showcase #232 Nov. 15, 2010
Drizzly skies couldn’t dampen the enthusiasm at O’Toole’s pub, this Monday night, as the assembled crowd was treated to a series of musical performances by three fine musicians.
First up, was VOCAL member Steve Effinger, who kicked off his country/pop set with a song about New Orleans, “Vieu Carré”, then continued on with a couple of tunes about love. “Sing my Song to Jesus” a P&W tune, was followed by “Full Time With a Part Time Wage” a humorous look at life’s conditions. Accompanying Steve thoughout his set, was Chip Butterworth on the mandolin, which added an extra depth to the material Steve presented.
After a brief intermission, Darryl Ellyson took the over the mike and launched into his set of guitar-driven blues tinged material. There’s no question he delves into the arena of heartbreak and lovelorn sentiment, as evidenced by his opening song “Teardrops” which took the audience on an emotional rollercoaster ride. His big voice immediately captured the attention of the crowd as he led them through a couple more bluesy songs. Next up was a new creation “Love Refugees” which detailed the relationship between two spurned lovers who find each other. Closing out his set was “Cause My Heart To Bleed” an upbeat, rousing song that drew the audience in to the performance. Darryl plays his music around many Richmond area venues, so be sure to look for his name in your local listings.
The featured performer of the evening, was the well known composer and pianist Steve Bassett. His one hour set consisted of fifteen songs, many of which came with an anecdote about how it came to be created. “Sing Loud” was the opener and it got the audience immediately involved in Bassett’s jazzy, R&B oriented vocal and playing style. “Election Day” was based on a true story of his experience at a voting site, and had humorous overtones. Inspiration for the next songs came from a mens room graffiti, a request from the Chamber of Commerce to write a song about Richmond and a bumper sticker (“Save The Bay”). “Trust Me” was a gospel tinged tune that was designed not to offend anybody, and “Start with My Heart” was a song written by request to effect a reconciliation among various ethic and racial groups. A plea to “Clean Up Your Own House” was written to make us consider thinking first about our own short-comings before criticizing others. All through the set, Bassett backed himself with prerecorded tracks that enhanced the impact of his material. No performance would be complete without his, perhaps, most well known song, “Sweet Virginia Breeze” (co-written with Robbin Thompson) and Steve did not disappoint. He closed his set with an upbeat version that had the audience clapping along.
Once again, VOCAL provided the audience with a fine selection of, and a wide variety of music to satisfy all tastes.